The bane of every gardener’s existence: weeds. We hate them. We LOVE to hate them. If you talk to any gardener for long enough, we’re sure this topic of conversation will come up. That’s why in this post, we’re here to help you tackle this issue once and for all. No longer will you have to put up with weed growth draining conversations AND vital resources from your fruit and veggies. No longer will spotting a stray weed in your perfectly pruned flower bed kill your mood. We can help you wave goodbye to those pesky, persistent garden intruders using this simple guide filled with eco-friendly prevention and killing advice.
Dig ’em up!
A tried and tested natural method used by every gardener and non-gardener alike. There’s nothing quite like digging up your weed growth. Use your trusty hand fork or trowel to dig them up from your soil gently, making sure you get all of their root systems. This satisfying process not only quickly removes unappealing-looking weeds but also helps to prevent rapid regrowth.
Weeding by hand like this is great if you want to quickly remove a few new weeds that you’ve just noticed. However, if you have a lawn full of conventional weeds, you may want to have a look at the weed-pulling products on the market. Weed-pulling tools typically have claw-like spokes at the bottom of a tall frame, quickly removing weeds without you having to bend down. An effective, eco-friendly method that requires no harmful chemicals and prevents you from straining your back.
Create a natural weed control spray
They say prevention is better than the cure, and when it comes to weeds, we have to agree. However, when creating a fruit and veggie garden filled with delicious produce you can’t wait to have on your plate, the last thing you’ll want to do is spray chemicals near your plants. That’s why we always recommend opting for a more environmentally friendly option. You can create your own weed control spray using regular household ingredients. Just follow the instructions below to get started…
- 1 litre of white vinegar
- 30ml of dish soap
- 3 heaped tablespoons of salt
- A spray bottle
- Combine the vinegar, salt and dish soap into a container.
- Cover and shake well to mix all of the ingredients.
- Pour into your spray bottle and save any leftovers for future use.
- Label your bottle clearly and correctly.
- Spray this mixture directly onto the areas you don’t want weeds popping up (like between paving stones). Take care not to spray any plants in the vicinity.
- Allow the spray to rest and work its magic. If it rains, re-apply the spray to the area.
- You should notice that there should not be much weed growth (if at all) in this area, although you may have to re-apply for stubborn weeds.
Please note that although natural, this spray should be used with care around your other plants. The ingredients can also cause harm to fruit and veggie plants if contact is made, so don’t spray on any areas where you WANT life to grow. This spray can also be used to kill weeds that have already sprouted.
Don’t forget to mulch
Mulching is an excellent conventional weed control method. Simply applying a 2-4 inch layer of organic material on top of your soil will create a physical barrier against any weeds that may have sprouted. As these weeds will be blocked from the sun, they will eventually die. You can even use old newspapers to help suppress weeds. Just apply several sheets on top of each other over the desired area, ensuring no gaps are left. Then, cover with a few inches of mulch, and ta-da! This will enhance the effectiveness of your mulching, starving your weeds from light. Plus, newspaper is biodegradable so you won’t have to worry about cleaning up a mess later!
This organic method is particularly popular in fruit and veggie gardens as a way of allowing gardeners to control weeds. You can mulch around fruit trees, bushes, and plants with ease. Plus, not only is this technique good for the environment in comparison to chemical-heavy weed killers, but it will also help your plants retain moisture.
Apply a natural weed killer
Amongst the list of environmentally friendly weed killer options, creating your own homemade weed killer is very popular with gardeners. A more eco-friendly option compared to commercial weed killers that are full of harmful chemicals, using a simple recipe like the one below will allow you to get right down to the roots and prevent weeds from growing in the future.
- 1 litre of boiling water
- Juice of 2-3 lemons
- 30ml of liquid dish soap
- 15ml of salt
- A spray bottle
- Allow your water to cool slightly and squeeze the lemons into a separate bowl, extracting their juice but being careful to remove any seeds.
- Now combine the water and lemon juice.
- Add the liquid soap and salt to the mixture and give it a good stir until all the ingredients are seamlessly incorporated together.
- Pour the solution to a spray bottle and liberally coat the leaves of your weeds. We recommend applying the solution on a warm, sunny day to enhance the results. Be careful not to spray on any surrounding plants.
- Allow the solution to sit and work its magic on the weeds. Within days you should see the weeds shrivel and die.
- If it rains, reapply the solution. Or, for particularly stubborn weeds, reapply every 2-3 days until you achieve your desired results.
The citric acid of the lemon juice in this recipe will cause your weeds to wilt and die. But be aware that this solution is a non-selective weed killer, so it will harm any plant that it comes into contact with. That’s why we urge caution when applying, especially if the weeds you are treating are close to your fruit and vegetable plants.
Invest in a weed burner
If you’re serious about weed-killing and want to take things to the next level, we recommend investing in a weed burner. This clever device is a quick way to get rid of weeds. Essentially a long-handled torch, it heats the cell of the weed until it’s destroyed. This flaming process will kill annual weeds permanently. Still, it will not fully kill the roots of perennial weeds, so you may need to repeat this process every 2-3 weeks. Plus, as it allows you to get close to the weeds, this method allows for greater precision than non-selective organic herbicides.
We would like to note that a small propane tank is attached to this device and it does require fuel, so it’s not the most eco-friendly weed control option on this list. However, costing around £20-£40 means it isn’t the most expensive garden tool either. As it involves the use of flames, you need to be careful when killing the weeds. If you have kids, make sure this device is also stored well so they won’t be able to get their hands on it.
Pour on boiling water
A simple trick to eradicate unsightly weeds and dandelions in your garden is to pour boiling water directly onto their base. This will send them into shock and effectively kill them. It will even kill any surrounding seeds that may have been lying dormant in the soil. Because this method is so effective at destroying plants, caution is advised. Not only do you want to prevent accidentally splashing yourself and causing a burn, but you’ll also want to avoid splashing any fruit and veggie plants in your garden. If you are worried about this, save this particular method for treating those pesky weeds that pop up between paving stones.
This option is not harmful to the environment and is cost-effective, only requiring a pot or kettle of water. So, this option is best for gardeners who have limited time and are on tight budgets but still want to forgo the use of chemicals.
There you have it. With these simple organic weed control methods, those pesky weeds in your garden won’t stand a chance. Your space will look happy and healthy in no time at all. If you wish to learn more ways to make your garden great, you can check out our knowledge hub. Plus, don’t hesitate to contact us on social media (@gardeningexpress). We would love to hear from you!